Date of Award

May 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Forestry and Environmental Conservation

Committee Member

Elena Mikhailova

Committee Member

Christopher Post

Committee Member

Mark Schlautman

Committee Member

Patrick Gerard


Cloud-based geospatial technologies are rapidly improving the flow of information from the environment to end-users. Cloud-based photo storage websites were used to create and manage species and spatial-temporal metadata in a digital photographic inventory of plant flowering observations collected at Lake Issaqueena, SC from January, 2012 to December, 2014. Statistical analysis of species and temporal metadata revealed significant (p < 0.05) inter-annual shifts in flowering time among several species during and after extreme high monthly temperature in March, 2012 and extreme high monthly total precipitation in July and August, 2013. An interactive ArcGIS Online map with sampling locations of flowering plants was developed and published. The interactive ArcGIS Online map enables web-based knowledge discovery of flowering phenology by allowing users to filter map contents, view plant pictures, navigate to additional plant information in the USDA PLANTS Database, and render spatial-temporal flowering patterns using the heat map view and time settings. The conceptual workflow for managing, integrating, and mapping plant flowering observations has numerous potential applications in species monitoring, allowing for higher volume and quality data to be collected and shared openly. A Cloud-based ESRI Story Map was developed for teaching Soil Forming Factors: Topography in undergraduate soil science education. Student evaluation of the ESRI Story Map was positive, and responses indicate students broadly preferred the ESRI Story Map as a stand-alone teaching module or as supplemental to PowerPoint slides. Teaching with ESRI Story Maps is very different than GIS education, and is well suited for fostering critical and spatial thinking because students do not need to possess prior skills in GIS software, allowing them to spend more time learning the topic at hand in interactive teaching modules. Teaching with ESRI Story Maps has enormous potential in soil science and other environmental disciplines, but more research is needed to develop specific teaching objectives and exercises using ESRI Story Maps.



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